* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

by John Donne

Analysis: Calling Card

Conceits

A metaphysical conceit is like a metaphor on steroids. Every metaphor is an attempt to connect two unlike things by some commonality, but a metaphysical conceit takes that idea to the extreme. The metaphors are crazy. "Our love? Yeah, it's like a dead guy. Or… no, it's like planetary alignment. No, wait, it's like hammering gold. No, I've got it now, it's like that thing you used in math class to draw circles." Nothing screams John Donne like a good conceit, and this poem has some of his best.

Argumentation

This is a love poem—shouldn't we expect some really gushy, romantic nonsense? Shouldn't this read like the back of a seventh-grade girl's notebook? Maybe, but that's not what we get. Much of this poem reads like the closing argument of a trial, which is no surprise for a John Donne poem. Because of the outlandish conceits, Donne is always out to prove something in his poetry, trying to persuade his audience that even though these images sound completely nutty, they actually (weirdly) make sense. This legal-like language, even in a love poem, is totally Donne.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement